AUBURN, Ala. – LSU right-hander Paul Skenes recorded a career-high 15 strikeouts Friday night, and leftfielder Tre’ Morgan drove in all three runs as the top-ranked Tigers posted a 3-0 win over Auburn in Plainsman Park.
LSU improved to 37-8 on the year, 16-5 in the SEC. The Tigers have won five straight games overall and eight consecutive SEC contests.
Auburn dropped to 25-19-1 overall and 9-13 in conference play.
The teams resume the series at 8 p.m. CT Saturday in a game that will be televised on the SEC Network and broadcast on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.
Skenes (9-1) worked a season-high 7.1 innings and limited Auburn to no runs on six hits with one walk and 15 strikeouts. He became the first LSU pitcher to record 15 strikeouts in a game since Tyler Jones fanned 15 at the University of New Orleans on May 17, 2011.
“When Paul Skenes is pitching, I’m living the best days of my life,” said LSU coach Jay Johnson. “It was a very special performance on the mound against a very good Auburn lineup.”
Skenes’ performance marked the most strikeouts by an LSU pitcher in an SEC game since Anthony Ranaudo registered 15 strikeouts against Auburn on April 24, 2009, in Baton Rouge.
Auburn starting pitcher Chase Allsup (0-1) was charged with the loss as he allowed two runs on three hits in 4.0 innings with two walks and one strikeout.
Morgan was 3-for-5 Friday night with a two-run homer and three RBI. After Allsup hit second baseman Gavin Dugas with the first pitch of the game, Morgan launched a two-run homer to give LSU a 2-0 lead. The dinger was Morgan’s fourth of the season and his first since April 18 versus UL Lafayette.
Morgan added an RBI single in the seventh to increase the Tigers’ advantage to 3-0.
“Tre’s swing has actually gotten better and tighter,” Johnson said. “It’s allowed him to tap into his strength more. That home run was one of the best balls I’ve ever seen him hit, and then he gave us just a really professional at-bat for his third RBI. It was a great night for Tre’.”
LSU relievers Nate Ackenhausen and Thatcher Hurd preserved the shutout in relief of Skenes. Ackenhausen recorded the final two outs of the eighth inning and after Auburn first baseman Cooper McMurray single to lead off the ninth, Hurd entered the game and retired three straight hitters.
Hurd, who earned his second save of the season, struck out third baseman Bryson Ware and shortstop Cole Foster before retiring centerfielder Kason Howell on a grounder to LSU shortstop Jordan Thompson.
“Thatcher showed total poise, total control, and threw every pitch where it needed to be executed,” Johnson said.
The shutout was LSU’s second this week and ninth this season, a figure which leads the nation. The Tigers also blanked Southeastern Louisiana, 10-0, on Tuesday night.
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